In My Write Mind

Back & 4th...

For most of you, this is just the week of the 4th of July, the week when "other" people celebrate their independence. But for me, I can't think of that week, that day, without going back to thoughts that will forever be shackled on my mind. There are two instances from back in the day when I was young, independent of one another, both with extraordinary visuals.

They always come to mind on that day, make my mind race back and forth with the images. Soooooo gas up the way-back machine and hold on tight, ladies and gentlemen...take a ride with me through my back-and-4ths.

July 4, 1979 -- I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was 8 years old, and the family was doing like it did every year, gathering together for a BBQ. It was me, Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Mary, Larry and Ms. Irene from across the street, my piano teacher that lived next door, my niece, my parents and my sister. And Shamus. My mother's poodle. Sigh. Now Shamus was a toy poodle, the type that went to the groomers every other week to get all styled up, pretty bows and all. My mom had his nails painted and erything. Lawd.

And boy did Shamus have a temper. That dumb dog would be on the front porch just a-barkin' away at any dog that passed by the house. I mean, german shepherds, great danes... you name it. Picture that... a poodle with friggin nail polish... barkin' sheeit at other, bigger dogs that DIDN'T have bows around their hair. I blame my mother. *smh*

This particular day... we were all in the backyard eating, laughing and playing board games... and then it turned into a Negro spiritual up in dat piece. As in, Who in da hell leff da gate open?!?!? Whoever did it never admitted to it. And for good reason. Shamus--in all his festive red-white-and-blue-bowed glory--got loose. Ran up to the front of the house where a huge german shepherd was passing by. Challenged said german shepherd.

By the time we heard the commotion and ran to the front... Shamus was inside the dog's mouth, and he was shaking our toy poodle like he was a chew ummm, toy. *sigh* We grabbed whatever we could find to stop the dog from devouring, nee, killing Shamus. He eventually let go and dropped him to the ground. I swear I thought I heard the dog snarl "Punk Ass" before strolling away. Shamus was barely breathing. We got him to the vet, and he survived... but was never the same. He had a slight limp from then on... whined a lot. But best believe he never challenged another dog for the rest of his days. Poor Shamus.

July 4, 1983 -- Twelve years old saw me getting to know the kids in the neighborhood. We all got invited to a New York Mets baseball game the evening of the 4th, which was billed as Fireworks Night at Shea Stadium. Again, a vivid memory. There was me, my best friends Mel and Kelli, some other random kids... and good ole Benny. I've blogged about him before. He's the friend that had the foul odor.

Well, Benny was obsessed with Mel. Wanted to be like him, emulated him in everything he did. Which is fine. I think it's great that he chose to look up to Mel, since he was one of the cooler guys in the neighborhood. But hear me... he wanted to do EVERYTHING Mel did, which, as you will see, is not always so good. There we were, enjoying the game, laughing and joking, eating hot dogs and popcorn... and then came the 7th inning stretch, that time in the game where you do just that... stretch it out, sing a song.

(Quick aside: I always thought that was crazy... I mean, who wants to wait til the 7th inning to stretch?!?!? If a game is 9 innings, shouldn't the stretch be earlier...say, in the middle of the game, like in the middle of the 5th inning?!?!? You play 4.5 innings, get up, stretch it out, sit down and enjoy the final 4.5. Makes sense, don't it? *dialing commissioner's office to tell them they need me on payroll*)

So here we are, all standing and stretching, singing the wack "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (which has, since 9/11, been replaced by "God Bless Amerikka"...but this is 1983, so I digress), and Mel literally stretches. So then Benny stretches. Now, did I mention that Benny was coordinated notsomuch? Yeah. So when HE stretched, he must've leaned into it. Y'all don't hear me. BENNY TUMBLED OVER TWENTY ROWS OF CHAIRS AT SHEA STADIUM!!! Or to put it like a classic X post: Fennnnnnny.Bellllllllll.

I swear, I'd never laughed so hard in my life. No, he wasn't hurt. He bounced right up and ran back up to where we were sitting. I don't think anyone could remember what happened the rest of the game. All of us had tears in our eyes. Just thinking about it now is making me double over in laughter. I tell you who wasn't laughing, though. The little kid, no more than 4 years old, that Benny rolled over on his way down. He wasn't hurt, either. But he kept looking up at us the rest of the game, at one point pointing a miniature bat in Benny's direction. Benny apologized. And our chaperones bought the kid a soda. But mann...I would never, ever, ever view a 7th inning stretch the same again. That shit was Bennnnnn-sational. And dwarfed the fireworks show that followed the game. *wiping away tears of laughter* Good ole Benny. LOL

Two memories. One sad. The other hilarious. Both imprinted on my brain. Both taking me back on the 4th. There are most definitely other things that have happened on that date, some more important, some less. But none were as lasting. None make me go back in time like these do. Go back and 4th. It's like... I'm a slave to the memories... like it's "Dependence Day" for me. Go figure.

*Announcement: Please remove your seat belts before leaving the way-back. The exits are here, here, here and here. Watch your step. And come again.*

scribbled by Will at 7/07/2005 07:42:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)

The Write One

Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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